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My Freshly Brewed Life: March 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

I've Moved!

Hey friends, I have officially moved my blog over to Word Press.  You can find me now at  I can't take any credit for the move as I am technically challenged.  Erin over at Insight Blog Designs was the genius behind my move.  She was a joy to work with, very quick and efficient.  I would definately recommend Erin if you are ever looking to make the switch.  Plus, she has designed some beautiful blogs!  I have the same beautiful design for now.  But look for surprises with regard to that coming soon!  

For those of you who subscribe through Blogger's RSS feed, you will be redirected in a day or two.  But please feel free to bookmark the new site so that you don't lose me.  If you subscribe through email or GFC, you should have already landed at my new page!  *I will keep this blog up, but will not be posting here anymore!

It may take me a little while before I am completely comfortable in my new home.  So if anything looks strange, it's just me playing around with the new dashboard.  

Simplicity - Multitude Monday

It's easy to find beauty in the obvious - a sunrise, a rainbow, a child's smile, the smell of freshly cut flowers.  I am learning though that beauty is even more simple than the obvious.  I continue to look, to seek out beauty, yet it's always there, right in front of my eyes.

In simplicity, I continue to count:

51.  My first born son, who turns 17 today.  He has a heart after God and I am forever grateful that God chose me to be his momma!

52.  Car insurance.  Someone stole a very expensive part off of our car.  We are thankful that our deductible is minimal.
53.  Foot washing.  We had a foot washing service in the Children's Equipping Center yesterday.  All but four of the kids participated.  It was touching and powerful to witness the children serving one another in this way.
54.  Vacuums.  I cannot imagine having to get on my hands and knees and pick up all the little fragments that the kiddos leave behind.
55.  Eye makeup remover.  Whoever created this stuff was a genius.
56.  Toothpaste.  What on earth did people use before this was invented?
57.  Mexican food.  Need I say more?  I cooked a lot of Mexican food this week at my son's request for his birthday.  I forgot that I was dieting.  Oops!  I will be back on track tomorrow.
58.  Fuzzy socks.  My feet are about the only part of me that get cold.  Love the fuzzy slipper socks!
59.  Candles.  We had a power outage a few nights ago.  Once we found the candles, it was nice.
60.  Another borrowed car.  I am so thankful for those who have loaned us their cars while we fix our other ones.

What are you thankful for today?  Link up at A Holy Experience.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Glimpses of Beauty - Multitude Mondays

Glimpse:  A momentary or partial view.

Beauty does not always come to us in it's complete state.  Sometimes it comes in glimpses.  It's only when we continue to glimpse in the direction of what we can already see that beauty is revealed in it's fullness.  I am reminded of this verse:
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  (1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT)
The beauty of Christ, and all that He offers to us, is seen through our imperfect eyes.  We simply will not always see it with our natural eyes.  It takes spiritual eyes to see, knowledge and understanding.  This week I have been asking God to open my eyes to truly see this beauty that surrounds me.  My eyes see in part, incompletely.  Yet I keep looking.

It's been a busy week for me.  But I have purposed in my heart to catch glimpses.  Even while running in different directions, His beauty is still there.  And when I catch those glimpses, they are planting seeds in my heart.  And as I am faithful to cultivate that which I can already see, the beauty is soon revealed for what it truly is. 

In glimpses, I continue counting:

36.  My Monday days off so that I can volunteer with Trade As One to help fight the cause of Human Trafficking.
37. The gift of multi-tasking.  I have become quite good at it. 
38.  My Willow Store dryer balls that I won on Rachel's blog.  Anything that cuts down my laundry time is a gift!
39.  The smell of fresh air after the rain.
40.  Glimpses of spring sprouting up in my front yard
41.  Negative Strep tests for both my son and I last week.
42.  Glimpses of heaven.  Thank you Corey Russell for giving me a greater glimpse into the throne room this weekend.
43.  A warm cup of tea on a cold day.
44.  A full nights sleep without children waking up.
45.  The laughter of my children in between bites of breakfast, although we might be late for school.
46.  A glimpse of the sun peeking through stormy clouds.  God brings hope.
47.  My crock pot.  Makes cooking easy.
48.  A glimpse of the dove that has made her nest in our front yard.  Spring is coming.
49.  My housekeeping husband.  When I fall behind, he gets the job done.
50.  My tender heart before the Lord today.  May it never grow stale or cold.

What are you thankful for today? Link up with us at A Holy Experience or leave me a comment letting me know.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Compromise

Vintage Vineyard Look

I was sitting at a Starbucks last week, waiting for my son to take a test.  I was looking forward to catching up on my favorite blogs in my Google Reader, and chatting with a friend through Facebook Chat.  A young girl, probably in her early 20s, came and sat at the table next to me, then left to get her coffee.  I noticed a nice leather journal and a Bible on the table where she was sitting.  I got excited.  Maybe I would introduce myself to her and we would have a cool conversation about God.  I started to rehearse in my head what I would say to "break the ice".  But that was short lived.  She was waiting for someone and he came and sat down with her and they chatted.

Because my table was in such close proximity to hers, I couldn't help but overhear most of their conversation, even though I was trying really hard to concentrate on my blog reading.  They talked about a conference she attended, and he talked about his job.  They talked of church and home groups.  Intermixed with all of this was talk of partying, drinking, a swear word here and there, relationships gone bad.  I was confused.  Wasn't she a Christian?  Didn't I just see her bring in her Bible?

She was living a life of compromise.  I do not believe that God brought her there that morning for me to judge her.  However, the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart about the little compromises that I make in my life and how they keep me from growing and from producing good fruit.
Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.  (Song of Solomon 2:15)
When I read this verse, I think of those small little things that creep into my life with God and stunt my growth.  Bad attitudesPoor decisions.   Selfish indulgences.  Momentary pleasures.  Speech that tears down.  Lost tempers.  Impatience.  Laziness.  Complacency. These are just a few of the little foxes that come to attack the vineyard of my heart.  A garden cannot grow as long as these things are attached to the vine.  It is up to me to tend the garden of my heart.  I cannot allow things to enter in that come to kill, steal and destroy what is being cultivated there.

As I sat and listened to their conversation, I asked myself these questions:

Do I represent Christ well in my life?
Do I walk the walk, not just talk the talk?
Do others see me as a friend of God?
Would someone question why I brought a Bible into the room?
Is my speech uplifting others and glorying God?

My heart was moved and grieved.  I am not living a deep, dark secret life that no one knows about.  Those closest to me would tell you I am pretty much an open book.  But it is the awareness my life of compromise that has caused me to stop and taken inventory of my heart.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  (Romans 6:1-4)
When I accepted Jesus into my life, I became a new creation.  I am to walk in newness of life.  No longer acting upon the sinful desires of my flesh.  I am to be dead to sin.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  (Romans 6:12-14)
It is by God's grace that I have the strength to continue walking in freedom, in newness of life, not allowing the little compromises in.  But it's a choice.

Does what I watch on TV glorify the Lord?
Do I discipline my children in a Godly manner?
Do I treat my husband with honor and respect?
Do I love others well?
Do I allow fear, worry and regret to steal my peace?
.....and the list goes on.

Every day I am faced with situations where I have to chose my reaction or my direction.  Will I choose to stand, by the grace of God, living my life uprightly before Him?  Or will I give in to a momentary pleasure or hasty remark or decision, simply because it's easier?  It requires no faith, no perseverance, no steadiness of spirit.  Why is it easier to give in to that part of me that is supposed to be dead to sin?  How do I continually keep my heart tender before Him.  Jesus said,
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  (John 15:5)
I was made in the image of Christ.  And the more time I spend with Him, the more I will look like Him.  I do not want to be a Christian who goes to church and does all of the right things, but who's life is questioned.  I want my life to count for Christ.  I want to produce good fruit.  I don't just want to simply exist.  I don't want to be religious.  I desire to be like Christ.  I want to live a life of no compromise. 

I thank God for opening my eyes and my heart that morning to the things that come to spoil my vineyard.  I thank Him for keeping my heart in a tender place, where I can hear His voice and respond to His heart.  Most of all, I thank Him for His amazing grace to forgive my misguided steps and decisions and set me on the path to fullness in His presence. 
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Seeking Beauty - Multitude Mondays

I am continuing to find beauty in the ordinary things that surround me.  Jesus said, those who seek Him would find Him.  
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  (Jeremiah 29:13)
Beauty is not always "staring me in the face".  I have to look for it, diligently seek it out.  Are you asking God to open your eyes to the beauty that surrounds you today?

26.  The calling of the Doves outside my window this morning.  We used to have Doves at our house every year.  When we had to sell our home and move, I wondered if we would see them again.  I cannot say that these are the same Doves, but it gives me hope that God has not forgotten us!
27.  Days when I can stay in my jammies and not have to rush.  And this is why I love Mondays!
28.  The patience of my husband when I am on overload.  I can tend to get agitated very easily.  My husband is a steady rock and I am so thankful for the way he loves me.
29.  The sweet and gentle presence of the Lord that comes in to calm my spirit.  In my times of agitation, the Holy Spirit has a way of gently reminding me of who and what I should be focusing on.
30.  Dirty dishes in the sink.  It means my children are eating well.
31.  At least 30 pairs of shoes in the basket at the base of the stairs.  It means we do not have to go barefoot.
32.  The sound of traffic on the busy street behind my house.  It means that people have jobs to go to, and gas for their cars despite the rising gas prices.
33.  Fair Trade, and the way it helps provide a living wage to women rescued out of human trafficking.
34.  Coffee.  Have I said this before?  I am so thankful for my morning cup of Joe!
35.  Laundry. How many posts have I mentioned my dislike of laundry.  Learning to find the joy in it.  Although it is never ending in my house, it reminds me that we have clothing to wear. 

What are you thankful for?  Link up at the Holy Experience.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

I love Mondays! I love reading all of your random thoughts and happenings.  I adore the lovely Carissa at lowercase letters,  who hosts this meme.  Won't you link up your randomness today?

{1}...Weight Loss.  So far, I've lost 14lbs. on my diet. It's been hard, but it's so worth it.  My clothes are fitting loser and pretty soon I will have to take up an offering so that I can afford to buy new clothes.  I suppose it's a good problem to have.  Pray for strength for me, I have another 20 days to go before I hit maintenance.

{2}...Laundry.  I finally folded the two baskets of laundry that have been sitting on my floor for over a week.  However, I now have two more full baskets of laundry to fold.  Laundry is like a merry-go-round.  It never stops.  Round and round I go.  Well, as my good friend Rachel will tell you, there is joy to be found in this seemingly mundane task.  I am going to make a point to look for it while I am washing and drying.   Speaking of drying, I won Rachel's giveaway for these!  I am so excited!

{3}...Freedom.  Today at church was Freedom Sunday.  We took some time to pray for the issue of human trafficking and to educate and resource our congregation on what they could do to fight this issue.  I am especially interested in the subject of Fair Trade and how I, as a consumer, can make wise choices with the products I purchase.  Do you know anything about Fair Trade?  Do you purchase any Fair Trade products?  I know there are two sides of this subject, so please give me any "positive" feedback you would like to share.  I am excited to be volunteering soon with an organization that provides Fair Trade products, many of which were made by woman rescued out of human trafficking.

{4}...Japan.  I have been in prayer over the last few days for our brothers and sisters in Japan. I cannot fathom what they must be going through in the aftermath of the earthquake and Tsunami.  Please remember to keep Japan in your prayers!

{5}...Scripture.  I leave you with this scripture: 
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen
(Ephesians 3:16-21).
Happy Monday my lovelies!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Walking In The Light

I am contributing today over at 5 Minutes for Faith, sharing a lesson  I learned yesterday from my youngest son about walking in the light.  Here is a little teaser:
As a mother, I teach my children to always be honest.  I have become very good at being able to tell when they are not telling the truth, or when I’m only getting part of the story.  I try to instill in them the importance of going to someone they may have hurt to ask forgiveness; or, at times, going to God with the sin that is in their  hearts.  Today, my 7 year old son taught me a valuable lesson.
Won't you stop on over to 5 Minutes for Faith and read the rest of the story?  I pray that you will be blessed.  And don't forget to leave me a comment here or there letting me know you stopped by.



Monday, March 7, 2011

Multitude Mondays

I am counting my gifts, continuing to find the beauty in the simple things in life.  For me, it has not been easy to see my gifts in the mundane or routine that has become my life.  I have really had to seek it out.  God is reminding me that He hides beauty for me to find every day.  I continue to pray that He would open my eyes to see.  I want to continue seeking and finding the beauty that is so simply displayed all around me. 

Today, I continue counting:
11.  A son who gives kisses freely, even when I don't deserve them.
12.  Perseverance during the tough times.
13.  The light rain that reminds me of God's gently cleansing.
14.  God's provision to get my SUV fixed.
15.  My son's sweet confession during Sunday School today.
16.  Blooming flowers that remind me that Spring is coming.
17.  A husband who loves to cook.
18.  A house full of chaos mixed with moments of joy and laughter.
19.  The wisdom to make good choices.
20.  Pants that are a little looser.
21.  Clean sheets.
22.  Disney princess movies.
23.  Children who are on fire for God.
24.  The freedom to worship God.
25.  The sound of my children laughing and playing basketball together.
You can link up your list of 1,000 gifts at A Holy Experience.

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Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

I love linking up with Carissa at lowercase letters for the Miscellany Monday.  It's my chance to be random and spontaneous.  If you would like to link up, grab the button and join the fun!

{1}...Since I started my whole, organic diet, it takes me twice as long to grocery shop.  My family is still eating as normal (they are all skinny), so I am having to prepare two menus and shop for both of those menus. I can never find everything I need at one store.  I run from Raleys to Trader Joes to Safeway.  I was out for four hours yesterday and was thoroughly exhausted.  Maybe if there were a Whole Foods near me, I could get it all done in one shot. We do have a Fresh and Easy coming near us.  Has anyone heard of them? 

{2}...Mr. Tax Man was very nice to us this year, so we will be having our SUV towed today to have the transmission fixed. Please pray that it doesn't cost $4,000.  It would be great if it only cost half of that.

{3}...I went thrift shopping with a friend on Saturday.  I wish I had the patience in thrift stores to score the big deals.  They make me nervous.  I don't know why.  Sifting through racks and racks of clothing just to find my size.  I did score a shirt for my son that only cost me 37 cents!  Woo Hoo!

{4}...Daylight Savings Time begins THIS Saturday.  It's "Spring Forward" my friends, which means we lose an hour's sleep.  I love that the sun is up later in the evenings.  Makes for a nice night time walk.  However, I do mind that I lose an hour's sleep.  I don't know why we can't have the same time all year round.

Well lovelies, I pray you have a blessed day!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thoughts of Spring Blog Party!


I am linking up with the beautiful Lynnette of Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground for the Thoughts of Spring Blog Party!

To get this party started, here are some random facts about me:

How would people describe your personality? (If they could only use ONE word.) Are they right?   
I think most people would describe me as faithful.  I believe I serve my church (which is also my job), my family and my friends well.

What celebrity/celebrities would create a “Star-Struck” feeling if you saw them in real life?
(Come on, you think Huge Jackman is dreamy too!)

Who is your favorite blogger? Why?
Unfair question! I follow so many fabulous blogs.  Do I really have to pick just one?  I just can't do it Lynnette.

What is your comfort food/drink?
Oh popcorn, how I love thee!  I eat it almost every night, without fail.

Coffee porn
Early morning, noon or night, you are never far from sight!
Love my coffee!

Be brave – tell us something very random and weird about yourself.
I check my alarm clock several times before I got to bed to make sure it's set.  I am sure there is a name for this thing I do, but it escapes my memory.

Do you have a strong desire to do something you’ve never done? What is it?
I would love to write a devotional book for women one day, to encourage them in their walk with Christ.

Movies: Action, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Documentary, Comedy? What are your favorite genres?   
As we are a multi-genre family, I like them all.  But if it were up to me, it would be a Drama or Romantic Comedy.

Books: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Romance, Biographies, True Stories, Self-Help, Devotional/Study? What are your favorite types of reading material?
Devotional Study. I  love digger deeper into God's Word.

Music: Funk, Rock, Country, Jazz, Classical, Film Score, Blues, Classic Rock, Crooner, Alternative, Heavy Metal, Techno? What are your favorite types?
I listen to worship music 100% of the time.
I love to watch and listen to the worship from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.  It's free to watch/listen.  I also enjoy Jesus Culture Music.

If you inherited a million dollars, what is the first thing you would do with your money?
Pay off my debt and buy a new house!

Name one weakness of yours (confession is good for the soul).
Food. I admit, I have issues with food. But I am working on getting over them.

If you could live anywhere at all (and take all your loved ones with you), where would you go?
I seriously cannot imagine ever leaving California.

Ireland, Avondale House, Avondale, County Wicklow
But I would love to hang out in Ireland for a bit.

Strange Talent? Can you juggle basketballs, put your legs behind your head or some perform some other strange feat? 
My fingers are double jointed. Does that count?

What’s something you consider yourself to be good at? (Don’t worry, it’s not bragging, it’s acknowledging a God given gift).   
I love to write (I'd better if I am a blogger), and I believe that is one thing that I am good at.

What is one of your favorite things to catch a whiff of? 
Shaw's French Bread
I told you I had issues with food!

When you leave a social gathering, do you wish: You would have talked more or You would have talked less? 
I wish I would have talked more.  I can tend to disappear into the background of a conversation.

If money wasn’t a factor, what stores would you shop in?
I've never really been fashion minded, but I would love to shop more at Macys.

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is probably that the Lord would take me home before my children are grown and self-sufficient.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
 My beautiful family is by far my greatest accomplishment!

What are your favorite animals?
Anything that is in a cage and doesn't roam free.  Really, I love to look at cute animals, but I wouldn't want to go near them.  I have always admired the beauty of horses though.

Are you a hopeless romantic?
Not really anymore.  Now I am much too serious.  My children tell me to "lighten up" or would you say, "loosen up"? 

What movie or book character can you most relate to?
I have absolutely no clue on how to answer this one now, but when I was a child, I felt I was related to Jan from the Brady Bunch.  

Did any of you ever watch "The Brady Bunch"?

Thanks for inviting me to the party Lynnette!